29 September 2014

Comparing the Battery with other Power Sources part 2

Ease of installation

There are two kinds of batteries, the sealed ones and the flooded batteries. The sealed batteries can be operated in any position and they also have a built-in vibration and shock tolerance whereas the flooded batteries need to be operated in a particular position only. When it comes to internal combustion engines, these need to be operated in a particular position and these also need shock absorbing dampers for a reduction in vibration and noise. Also, IC engines need an exhaust pipe as well as an air intake.

Cost of operation

On an average, producing one Kwh of battery power costs one dollar and a battery has a life of approximately 2500 hours. To calculate the total cost of operation, we also need to take into account the replacement cost as well as the charging cost which comes to $.40 and $.10 respectively. Therefore, the total cost of battery power per kilowatt hour comes to approximately $.50.

On the other hand, manufacturing an internal combustion engine costs much less as compared to a battery and has a lifespan of about 4000 hours. The cost per kilowatt hour for an internal combustion engine comes to roughly $.34.

It is also to be noted that the large size of batteries required to produce enough power makes them impractical in larger vehicles.

Maintenance cost

The maintenance cost of other power sources such as a thermal engine and fuel cells is much higher when compared to batteries. The flooded batteries need regular watering and the nickel cadmium batteries need regular discharging but other than that there is no other maintenance required for batteries except for the occasional cleaning of the buildup on the battery terminals.


Life of batteries varies a lot between rechargeable and non rechargeable batteries. A rechargeable battery has a comparatively short life and it keeps ageing even when it is not being used. However, fuel cells deliver anywhere from 2000 to 5000 hours. Large sized stationary batteries have a lifespan ranging from 5 to 20 years.

Effect of temperature

Extreme temperatures affect performance of batteries and this is where internal combustion engines score over battery as a power source. Even at a very low temperature, an internal combustion engine works very well once it is warmed up whereas the performance of batteries goes down when temperature is below the freezing point as the electro chemical reactions slow down.

Fuel cells also suffer in performance at extreme temperatures.

Time to start

Batteries need to be charged before power can be drawn and charging batteries take a long time especially when compared to the internal combustion engines which can be started by just filling up the fuel tank. On an average, a nickel-based battery takes up to 3 hours to charge fully whereas the lead acid battery requires 14 hours on an average. However, there are some electric vehicles which can be charged up to 80% power capacity within an hour using high power outlets.


When it comes to disposal, batteries which use nickel cadmium and lead may cause environmental damage if disposed off in the open. Therefore disposal of these batteries is prohibited in landfills. However, batteries based on Lithium as well as nickel metal hydrate can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. It is recommended to recycle the batteries to keep the environment sage and clean.

These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of when comparing the battery with other power sources.

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